Former Special Prosecutor, Martin Amidu, says his successor, Kissi Agyebeng, is yet to learn the ropes when it comes to being an investigator or a prosecutor.
According to Mr Amidu, the current prosecutor lacks understanding with regards to the duties and responsibilities of his office.
According to him, the “OSP was not established as a corporate fisheries entity to go into the oceans, rivers, and other water bodies of crime, casting its net widely to scoop in every fish the net can catch, and then decide which type of fish meets its fancy to be retained as game or food for sacrifice to the gods of persecution and which to release back into the oceans.”
His comment follows the arrest and subsequent bailing of former Environment Minister, Fimpong-Boateng.
Prof Frimpong-Boateng was invited by the OSP on May 16 as “a person necessary for the investigations into suspected corruption and corruption-related offences in respect of the activities and expenditure of the dissolved Inter-ministerial Committee on illegal mining, IMCIM.”
Although this action by Mr. Agyebeng has been widely criticised especially by the minority NDC, the former has defended the arrest, insisting that the former Chairman of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining (IMCIM), Prof Frimpong-Boateng is not the only person being investigated and neither is he the only government appointee who has been invited.
He argued that he has a charge to keep.
“I respect the credentials of the Professor, and I doff my hat to him. You know me very personally, I am an academician as well, and so I respect such people on all scores. I mean the CV is unbelievable, I respect that, and I applaud him for that, but I have a charge to keep. The charge I have to keep is to the Republic of Ghana and to the public. I have been put in this office to investigate corruption and corruption-related offences, to recover assets for the country.”
But rubbishing this defense, the citizen vigilante said, the “deficiencies in the investigatory and prosecutorial experience of Mr. Kissi Agyebeng is what has haunted him into overdrive to think that he can earn the trust of Ghanaians by appearing to talk tough and threatening to investigate and prosecute “everyone and every person” on mere suspicion of the commission of a corruption offence without first establishing reasonable grounds for such suspicion as though he was on a fishing expedition.”
In Mr Amidu’s write-up sighted by JoyNews, he explained that, “the ethics governing professional investigators as well as prosecutors do not permit such specialized public officers to intimidate and frighten citizens with threats of arrest and prosecution for the generic offence of corruption and corruption-related offences created under the Office of the Special Prosecutor Act, 2017 (Act 959) without indicating to a suspect the specified crime(s) committed or about to be committed within the generic corruption offences.
Again, “There is no crime under Act 959 known as “alleged or suspected corruption and corruptionrelated offences”. The mandate of the OSP is to “investigate and prosecute specific cases of alleged or suspected corruption and corruption-related offences” (Emphasis supplied). The specific cases of offences the OSP is enjoined to investigate and prosecute are defined under Section 79 of Act 959. Consequently, the citizen is entitled to know from the invitation letter or at the point of arrest the specific offence of alleged or specified suspected corruption and corruption-related offences for which he is reasonably suspected of having violated. The Ghana Police Service which hitherto was responsible for investigating all criminal offences under the Criminal Offences Act, 1960 (Act 29), is not permitted to invite or arrest a citizen for the commission of crime generally without specifying the particular crime or offence for which the citizen is reasonably suspected of commission or about to commit,” Mr. Amidu added.
In his view, “The fundamental rights and freedoms of the citizen to fair and impartial investigation and prosecution upon reasonable suspicion of the commission of crime are guaranteed under the Constitution and the Special Prosecutor cannot decide at his whim when and how the guaranteed rights may be enjoyed by the citizen on account of the mandate of his office to investigate and prosecute specified cases of alleged or suspected corruption.”
Find the full write-up by Martin Amidu below: